Inspired Tales

A brand-new writing competition for children. We want to unleash the creativity of young people, and find the best budding writers and storytellers out there.

Help us find the next generation of Inspired Tales

The winners will have their story transformed into a professional recording, on a Yoto card available for sale internationally. We’ve also got plenty of runners-up prizes, including Yoto bundles of the best new children’s books, podcasts, music, soundscapes and more.

Competition Details


The competition is open to anyone under 15, living in the UK, United States or Canada! There are two age categories - under 9s and 9-14s.

Stories can be submitted as a text document or as an audio recording. Audio recordings must stay within the word limit and must only be a reading of the story - no sound effects or music.

  • Competition Dates

    Competition Dates
    Starts: October 27 2021
    Closing date: December 31 2021

    Winners will be announced in the new year


  • Under 9s entries must be:

    An original story of no more than 500 words, or
    No longer than 3 ½ minutes for audio recordings

  • 9-14s entries must be:

    An original story of no more than 750 words, or
    No longer than 5 minutes for audio recordings

We are absolutely thrilled to be working with National Literacy Trust on Inspired Tales. Visit their website to discover the incredible work that NLT deliver every year.

How to enter


Create an original short story and send it to us. There is no theme - we want children to explore their own ideas and creativity, so the story can be anything you want to write. 

(NB: an original story cannot include characters protected by copyright, see FAQs for further details.)

We are also thrilled to be working with best-selling author, Sophie Dahl who will be part of our panel of judges for the competition.

Need some help?

We’ve put together a guide for writing short stories.
There are tips for parents and carers, to encourage your child to explore their creativity and imagination as well as suggestions for teachers and educators who are thinking of incorporating Inspired Tales into lessons.

Inspired Tales FAQs

What are the judges looking for?

Our judges are looking for stories that:

- Are original
- Are imaginative
- Capture their interest
- Can be turned into great audio

And that’s it! Don’t worry too much about tiny little mistakes - judges won’t mark stories down for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, as long as it doesn’t affect their understanding of the story. What matters most is how the story reads, and how much the judges enjoy reading it.

What do I have to write about?

Anything at all! There is no theme for the competition, so you can write the story that you want to write. If you’re a bit stuck, have a look at our writing guide for some help.

Before you submit, try to proof read your work, and make it as good as it can be.

Can I write a story about a character from another story?

This depends. Yoto cannot publish anything protected by copyright, for example, we cannot accept a new story about Paddington, much as we love him! However, there are existing characters who do not fall under copyright protection. If in doubt, ask an adult, or avoid using existing characters.

Competition details:

The competition runs from 27 October - 31 December 2021. Winners will be announced in the new year. There are two age ranges - Under 9s and 9-14s. Entrants need to write a story of no more than 500 words (Under 9s) or 750 words (9-14s).

How do I enter?

To enter the competition you must live in the USA, Canada or the UK, and be under the age of 15.

Stories must be submitted by a parent or guardian, or by an educator with written permission from a parent of guardian. The submission form can be found here.

Your story can be sent in a text file format, or as an audio file of your story being read aloud. If submitting an audio file, your story must still fall within the word limit. Audio recordings must be no longer than 3 ½ minutes for under 9s (500 words) and no longer than 5 minutes for 9-14s (750 words).
There is no minimum word count.

Entries can only be submitted in one format.

Can I use my own email address to submit my story?

No. The entry must be submitted by a parent, guardian or educator.

Can I record my own sound effects?

No. If you are submitting an audio file it can only be an audio recording of the text - no sound effects, music or other content.

Can someone else record or type my story for me?

Yes. As long as the story is completely your own, someone can read it for you or type it for you. We will ask the person submitting the story to confirm that the story is original work solely by the entrant - no one may offer any help, editing or corrections. Remember, for audio files the judges will only consider the story, not the performance of the reader.

How will I find out if I’ve won?

Winners will be announced in the new year, so keep an eye on the website. We will not be able to notify all entrants who have submitted stories as to the progress of their entry. You can also find out who has won a prize by sending a stamped addressed envelope, to (i) for UK residents: Inspired Tales Competition, Yoto Limited, Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX, (ii) US and Canada residents: 348 4th Ave. #1011, Brooklyn, NY 11215, from 30 days after the closing date.

Is it safe? What about data protection and safeguarding?

Have a look at our safeguarding and data protection statement here.

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